Wednesday, June 8, 2011


On Bonnie Raitt’s album “Souls Alike,” she sings a song called Trinkets.  It’s a strange little number about being a kid and loving a record by Louis Armstrong, a picture by Van Gogh, and her wiener dog.   

I think Bonnie Raitt would get along great with Cynthia Bourgeault, at least the way I read things. Bourgeault clearly names love—full-bodied, heart-stopping love—as the centre of Christianity, Christian contemplative practice, and Christian social activism.  She argues that as Christians our goal isn’t detachment from an illusionary world, but passionate love for this particular reality in which we live.  (And yes, this is not the only reality!) Love alone has the capacity to draw us out of our little self and make an empty space in the centre that can be filled with the Infinite Love.

The bridge in Trinkets goes like this:
And if I get older,
if I ever die,
if I get to a gate at the end of the sky,
and a beautiful creature says, Now Bonnie, what do you want? 
Might say, A record and picture and a wiener dog, swear to God.

My list would probably be different.  But that doesn’t matter.  I find that paying attention what moves me, what makes my heart crack open, is a great practice, because when I really know what I love—not just what I happen to crave at a particular point in time—I know who I am.  And when I know who I am, well, then I get to live out of the big self that is rooted in and powered by Divine Mystery.   Way more fun than living in the small self who scrabbles crazily for respectability, more stuff, approval.

A record and a picture and a wiener dog, swear to God.

Therese DesCamp

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